Why & How to Fix Bald Spots on Suede Shoes Easily

Bald spots on your suede shoes can be distracting to look at and annoying to touch. In this article, we’ll be talking about everything you need to learn about what causes bald spots on suede and how you can easily remedy them at home.

Can suede be fixed?

Definitely. Even though suede is one of the more difficult materials to maintain when it comes to furniture or garments, there are several ways to fix suede. Whether you need to bring back its soft and velvety texture or remove some scuff marks, there are suede brushes, suede cleaning, and repair kits that you can buy online and use at home easily.

Why do my suede shoes have bald spots?

The suede material is different from other leather materials because it has a raised nap that makes it softer and more velvety. The fibers or the nap is the one responsible for giving your suede shoes a nice finish. If you notice a bald spot on your suede shoes, it’s probably because the nap is damaged or marked.

Some of the reasons why your suede shoes have bald spots might be because of the following:

Wear and tear

Wearing your suede shoes a lot more often than your other shoes will definitely cause stains and scuff marks that can lead to bald spots on the surface. You might hit your shoes against a rough surface or during unfavorable conditions which will cause fiber damage.

You can generally avoid this problem by applying a suede protector spray on your shoes. This will protect it from water stains or scuff marks.

Getting them wet

Getting your suede jacket, shoes, or furniture wet is a big no-no since any liquid substance will literally ruin the fibers which will eventually cause those ugly bald spots. This is not only limited to water as oil stains or any other form of stains on suede can also greatly harm the material.

Direct sunlight

Suede doesn’t really do well in extreme conditions and this includes being exposed to high heat and direct sunlight. Extreme heat and extreme moisture will both damage the suede fibers and will cause them to age badly. Of course, when it ages badly, you’ll be seeing bald spots soon enough.

Bad storage

No matter how well you use and clean your suede items if you store them incorrectly without any care, they will still get damaged and get bald spots. Piling them under a bunch of other shoes can damage the soft fibers. If the storage closet is damp, your precious shoes are prone to acquiring mold and mildew which will eventually lead to bald spots.

How to fix a spot on suede shoes

It depends on what type of spot there is on your suede shoes. Spots can often be because of pilling, scuff marks, or liquid stains that damage the texture of the material. For this problem, you first need to identify the cause so you can find the right tools and materials you need to fix it.

Fixing bald spots on suede shoes

If you notice a bald spot on your suede shoes, it might be caused by pilling or scuff marks left untreated for a long time. Wearing your suede shoes a lot can also cause bald spots, especially if you don’t follow it up with proper cleaning and maintenance after use. Here’s how you can fix a bald spot on suede shoes:

Use a suede cleaner

The first thing you should do is clean your suede shoes because dirt, grime, common stains, and oil are the most common factors that lead to suede balding. Clean the entire shoe surface to rejuvenate the suede fibers. This will make it easier for you to buff it up later using a suede cleaning brush and remove the bald spots caused by stains.

Use a hairdryer and suede brush

If the bald spot on your suede shoes is tiny and not that severe, you may use a hairdryer and a suede brush to bring the nap back into place and restore its soft texture. Just make sure to set the hairdryer to its lowest cool setting to avoid directing high heat on the suede material. Brush the nap gently just enough to fluff it back up and not cause suede pilling.

Use a suede eraser

A suede eraser is great if you want to remove stubborn bald spots caused by scuff marks. The suede eraser will also pick up any dirt on the surface that might be causing the nap to look dampened and brittle. Gently rub the suede eraser on the bald area until you see the fibers are back to their original texture.

Use a fine sandpaper

If you don’t have a suede brush or a suede eraser and you want to get rid of the bald spots on your shoes immediately you may use fine sandpaper (at least 1200 grit or above only). Just remember that the higher the grit, the less abrasive it will be on the suede. This will remove any bald spots caused by tough stains or scuff marks effectively.

Use a suede protector

This is more of a precautionary method to prevent bald spots on your suede shoes in the future. Applying a protective spray on your suede garments or furniture will ensure that it is weatherproof, water-repellent, and stain-resistant. When your suede item is protected, there is a lesser chance of it having bald spots no matter the conditions you wear them in.

Fixing peeling faux suede shoes

Peeling is one of the most common problems that people deal with when it comes to their well-loved shoes. If you own a pair of faux suede shoes, they are especially prone to peeling since they’re made from a cheap base fabric with a polyurethane coating. To fix the peeling problem on faux suede, try this method:

Sand it down and apply some marker

There’s really not much you can do once the faux suede fibers start peeling. The best you can do is slow down the deterioration process and prevent it from looking worn out. This method and cleaning process does not guarantee that it will make the faux suede look brand new, but it will at least make it look decent for a couple more years.

  1. Use a suede cleaner to clean the surface and remove any loose dirt or grime. 
  2. What you need to do is sand down your shoes using fine-grit sandpaper (1200-grit) to create a smooth surface.
  3. Choose a marker that is the closest color to your faux suede shoes and fill in the cracks to conceal the peeling or discoloration.
  4. Use a soft cloth and rub it on the area where you applied the marker. This will buff out the affected area so that the marker is not too noticeable.

Can suede pilling be fixed?

If you notice that your item made from suede is pilling, it might be because of too much rubbing due to wear and tear. Pilling is pretty common not just on suede, but also on cotton and wool fabrics. However, don’t worry because suede pilling can still be fixed using an easy solution.

To fix suede pilling, all you need to do is rub a dampened clean cloth (with warm water or white vinegar) on the surface to get rid of the fuzzies. The damp cloth will pick up the tangled-up fibers on the surface. Do this step as quickly as you can to prevent excess moisture and let the suede dry thoroughly. Fluff it back up with a suede brush and apply a suede protector to prevent it from pilling again.

How much does suede restoration cost

If you don’t want to risk ruining your suede shoes by restoring them at home, you can go to professionals instead. They’d know how to handle suede-specific issues and will have the right tools for it. It will cost you around $15 to $25 for some color and texture restoration while removing various types of stains and deodorizing them will cost about $60.


There is no doubt that suede shoes look classy and timeless, even more, when they are properly taken care of. Fixing simple problems shouldn’t require complicated methods, so we hope that this article gave you some idea on how to fix bald spots on suede and how to increase its longevity.


Does vinegar restore suede?

Although we don’t recommend getting your suede wet, a white vinegar solution can be of help in extreme situations involving stubborn stains. It can help bring back its soft texture and remove fibers that cause surface pilling. Just make sure that the cloth is damp, not soaked and it will dry off properly once you’re done. Apply a shoe protector spray after.

Can you fix scuffed suede shoes?

Yes, scuffed suede can be fixed using a suede eraser, a suede brush, or fine-grit sandpaper. As long as the scuff doesn’t go too deep, then it should be easily remedied by brushing the surface. If the scuff marks are dark and noticeable, you will need to apply a bit more pressure than you normally would to remove them.

Can suede be brought back to life?

With proper care and restoration, you can bring back that soft texture and rich color of your prized suede boots and other items. There are many restoration techniques and tools that you can use to bring suede back to life. You can also opt for professional restoration if you don’t have the time to do it yourself.

Does water ruin suede?

Just like any liquid substance, water can ruin suede if left on the surface for too long. Aside from using a damp cloth to clean the suede surface, leaving your suede soaked for a long time will cause the fiber to become stiff and brittle. Brittle fibers caused by water damage on suede are one of the most common causes of suede balding.

Can I use a razor on suede?

You can use an old razor to gently shave off suede pilling. It will bring back that smooth texture on the surface while getting rid of those stringy bits that look and feel annoying to touch. Just be very gentle while doing this as you don’t want to accidentally peel off the suede or cause bald spots on the surface.


  • Luke

    With a 14-year journey dedicated to preserving and enhancing leather goods, his unwavering passion continues to fuel his expertise. When he's not immersed in the world of leather, you can find Luke enjoying exhilarating bicycle rides or exploring nature through invigorating hikes.

  • Ralf

    Ralf is a multifaceted creative enthusiast with a deep passion for various crafting hobbies, including sewing, pottery, and the captivating world of leathercraft.